I started to explore The Sword in the Stone in an effort to understand my own literary influences (and I plan to read others). Boy, I'd forgotten--or never noticed as a child--the bizarre racist asides in this novel. Characters who, presumably, have never heard of Indians are compared to "Red Indians" when they get tan or start a fire, and I won't even go into the jaw-dropping rant by a crazy falcon that the main character, Wart, meets after Merlyn has magicked him. Suffice it to day, I think Mr. White was indulging his humor, and his humor can be racist. Classism shows up, too, but it made me snort instead of wanting to throw the book across the room.
And yet. For most of the narrative, I feel as if I am in such expert hands. White writes superb prose and reveals a deep understanding of what life must have been like in Arthur's time. He was a falconer himself, and it shows.
Would I recommend this book? With a big fat warning, yes. With T. H. White, I have to admire the writer without liking the man.